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Special Issue "Christian Congregations as Communities of Care"
A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2023 | Viewed by 2705
Special Issue Editors
Interests: ecclesial practices; Christian congregations worldwide; collaborative research approaches and methods
Interests: homiletics; pastoral care; empirical methodologies
Special Issue Information
Congregations are places of worship, but they can also be described as ‘communities of care.’ While this may sound like an ideal endorsed and encouraged by church leaders and clergy, it is also a description of the ‘real church’; research demonstrates that a large number of congregations can indeed be conceived as caring communities (Wuthnow 2005; Swinton 2020). Congregations can create and sustain small support groups that genuinely evolve into settings in which people care for one another. In congregations, both professionals and volunteers offer forms of one-to-one pastoral care. These are places where values of support, care, and compassion are emphasized through mediums such as sermons and congregational bulletins. Congregations can also offer resources to the wider community, providing space for meetings and events to be held on their premises. They may also have active relationships with mental health and existential care networks in wider society. Generally speaking, members of the congregation who need material, financial, or mental help can depend on their congregations. Care practices often transcend the insider/outsider dichotomy and demonstrate the fluidity of institutional or congregational boundaries, thereby embodying the church’s vocation in the world.
This Special Issue encourages the submission of a broad range of papers in order to elaborate on the empirical and theoretical aspects of congregations as communities and/or networks of care. The following themes may be included: How does Pastoral Care embody Christian community? What types of care networks can we detect in congregations, and how are they interrelated? Who are the actors in these care networks, and who is ‘served’ by these networks? What kind of needs are served in these networks? How are pastoral care practices related to networks of mental and existential care in wider society? What do we know about migrant churches as networks of care? How is the relationship between chaplaincy and congregations shaped? How do disasters and/or crises influence care relationships in Christian churches? How do denominational organizations and differing theologies, such as pentecostalism, reformed, Roman Catholic, or orthodox theologies, influence the shaping of communities as networks of care? How do the Jewish and Christian traditions, with their norms and values often embedded in narratives, influence congregations by shaping how we care for one another in relationships? How can congregations generate or become inclusive communities of care, ‘including’ people with mental or physical disabilities, dementia, etc.? What is the place of the congregation as a network of care in the missional church conversation in terms of its relation to the dichotomies of maintenance and mission, and come-and-go structures?
This Special Issue seeks to establish a forum for quantitative and qualitative research on congregations from across the globe, and for meta-studies that include references to existing empirical or historical research. It invites contributions from the fields of practical theology, empirical theology, sociology of religion, psychology of religion, homiletics, diaconal studies, pastoral care, mission studies, church history, spiritual care, and chaplaincy studies.
Prof. Dr. Hendrik Pieter De Roest
Dr. Theo Pleizier
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.